Artists Rifles Cap Badge

This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series Military Cap badges

The Artist Rifles cap badge always attracts attention because of it’s name and the hint of something different.

The Artists Rifles cap badge, shown here in brass was worn by soldiers who had previously been, artists, architects, musician, actors and other creative souls. They were a volunteer unit formed in 1860 in response to a potential threat from the French.

Artists Rifles


    • Established in 1860
    • Recruits came from a wide range of creative backgrounds
    • Fought in the Boer War
    • Attracted people from public schools and universities
    • Many from the Artists Rifles were selected to become officers
    • It was a very popular unit and of the 15000 who served in WWI, 10,000 became officers
    • They suffered higher losses in WWI than most other units

Intriguing connections:

    1. The first commanders of the Artists Rifles were Henry Wyndham Phillips and Frederick Leighton, the artist who was President of the Royal Academy from 1878 – 1896 and bearer of the shortage peerage, having died only one day after succeeding to his hereditary peerage and leaving no sons.
    2. Consider the wealth of creative and intellectual  talent all coming together, what a force that must have been.
    • Take a look at our Major Events theme for more posts on WWI and the Boer War
    • Explore People and Personalities for links to other leading artists of the time
You may be interested in looking at other cap badges from our collection and finding out more intriguing  thoughts and facts relating to them. Take a look at other curated material at Intriguing Family History, use the links to see the Frederick Leighton Museum in London, which as well as having wonderful art work, also reflects upon his life.
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